How a Great Power Falls Apart
Decline Is Invisible From the Inside
ONE of the commonest criticisms made of the recent Lateran Treaties is that they have bartered away the Papacy's temporal power and the grandiose imprisonment in which it had been prospering for nearly sixty years, in exchange for advantages which are of concern to the Italian Church only -- in a word, that the Vatican has sacrificed its universal mission to its peculiarly Italian interests.
Those who share this view fall into the error of taking the Concordat of February 11 as an isolated document unrelated to the numerous similar agreements made by the Roman Church in our times and in a remoter past. As a matter of fact, the general policy of the Church is not susceptible to narrow limitations in time and space. More than any other policy it holds its past experience in mind, making each new step follow logically from those before it, coördinating each measure rigidly with all its others. The concordats of the nineteenth century show the power of the Church advancing in the face of all sorts of difficulties and vicissitudes toward the formulae which the Church is using today; and the concordats of the twentieth century reveal that the texts which Mussolini has recently signed for Italy translate into action purposes already realized by the Church in divers other places.
In the course of its history the Papacy has never been able to monopolize civil power save over very small territories or during very brief periods. More often threatened than threatening, more often encroached upon than encroaching, it has frequently been obliged to come to terms with secular states regarding the application of canon law. Hence a long series of concordats running back as far as the twelfth century (Concordat of Worms, 1122), which were made possible only because the Church was willing to abate its claims in the temporal sphere and the state its claims in the spiritual sphere, in order that both might negotiate on a footing of equality regardless of the reservations each might be making as to theory.
These concordats naturally varied. They depended on the forms of government prevailing at the moment in Church and in state, on the relative strengths of the contracting powers, and on the types of social organization that happened to be in vogue. Obviously the same contracts would hardly be adaptable to feudal or near-feudal systems, where bishoprics and abbeys constituted parts of the temporal state; to centuries of royal absolutisms, where the rulers behaved like little Popes and civil and political equality was unheard of; and to democratic eras, in which public authority is exercised by the fiat of an electorate or at least reflects movements in public opinion.
The French Revolution, for example, completely transformed the relations of Church and State; and since 1789 three different systems have been devised to regulate them. The first bears the stamp of Napoleon I. The second reflects the strain of the Holy Alliance under pressure from liberalism and nationalism. The third is now being formulated before our eyes as the expression of a Catholicism strongly centralized in Rome and developing a persistent methodical action at all points on its circumference.
II. NAPOLEON'S CONCORDAT
The Concordat of 1801, forced upon the Pope by violence and intimidation, was the work of a despotic nationalism determined to lay hold on religion in order to govern men more efficaciously. It gave Napoleon the political advantages of schism with none of the corresponding religious embarrassments. He retained the ancient rights granted by Leo X to Francis I (Concordat of 1516) -- the head of the Napoleonic State is also "bishop exterior." But he repudiated all obligations whatsoever; and, still dissatisfied, rewrote the whole document to suit himself after it was signed, and began exercising not only the privileges actually yielded by the contract but those which he had usurped. Not to mention details of church control, Napoleon chose to legislate even on matters of faith and discipline: "I will have the religion of Saint Bernard, of Bossuet, and of the Gallican Church!"
Many provisos of this imperious document (but for the two invasions of France it would have eventuated in schism) fell of their own weight. The essentials, however, survived. Down to 1870 the governments of France, with perhaps four exceptions, named their bishops without previous understandings with the Papal nuncios; and in 1903, when M. Combes challenged the right of the Pope to withhold cannonical induction, he was only asserting prerogatives which the Restoration, the Monarchy of July, the Second Republic, the Second Empire, had all enjoyed. It took the shortsightedness of the French Radical-Socialists in 1905 finally to break this powerful weapon of subjugation which had favored the development of a strong and original French Church, one peculiarly suitable to the French temperament and as different from the Gallican church of the eighteenth century as it was from our revamped church of the twentieth. However, there was something French, and something exceptional, about Napoleon's Concordat. Napoleon himself had to modify it for other countries. Some traces of its spirit may be found in agreements made by the Pope with certain Germanic States between 1821 and 1830. The laws passed during the Kulturkampf (May 1873) are also in the most drastic Napoleonic manner. But on the whole the Concordat died a natural death. The Church had regarded it as a makeshift. Its beneficiaries allowed it to lapse of their own accord.
III. THE CHURCH AND THE HOLY ALLIANCE
Most of the concordats of the Holy Alliance lasted at best a half century; but during that time they were quite the fad, and in the New World as well as in the Old. Church history knows some eighty concordats. Thirty of them fell between 1815 and 1862. By 1815 the old organization of the Church had succumbed under the tempest of revolution. In Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany the property of the Church had been seized and monasteries abolished. Dioceses frequently failed to correspond with political frontiers. However, rulers everywhere now thought they needed the Church to keep liberals and patriots in hand. They therefore broke away from the institutions of Maria Theresa, Joseph II, and Leopold of Tuscany -- from everything, in short, which (though with much more prudence and respect for tradition) had corresponded in the Germanic world to the French Concordat of 1801. In Latin America, especially, reconstruction went hand in hand with construction; but without any return to pre-Revolutionary models. These were seen to be too involved with feudal conceptions long since overpassed.
In the concordats in question there is a general resignation of the "bishops exterior" -- notably in Bavaria (1817), the Two Sicilies (1818), Spain (1851) and Austria (1855). Indeed, putting forward the principle of legitimacy, the Papacy succeeds (in 1847) in striking a bargain with the government of Tsar Nicholas II, which had been the most hostile to the Roman faith. Württemberg and Baden also change their minds and submit. South America enters the same circle. Catholicism is proclaimed the "sole religion of the realm" in the Two Sicilies and in Austria. Spain proscribes "other forms of worship," and Ecuador "sects that are condemned." Venezuela too vouches for her zeal in protecting religion. Austria and Spain entrust censorship of books to the bishops. In civil cases, priests are subject to the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts in Austria, Bavaria and Piedmont. In criminal cases, the dignity of the cloth is safeguarded everywhere: sentences are served either in convents or in special prisons. The "right of refuge" holds good in Austria and Piedmont. Marriage is generally governed by canon law, the sacrament entailing all the usual civil consequences. Education passes under Church supervision in Austria, Bavaria, Spain, Costa Rica, Baden, and even (in 1886) in Montenegro. The congregations are freed of restraints; in Bavaria the state founds and supports monasteries. Spain (1851) gives salaries to the heads of certain regular orders. Tithes, or Church taxes, reappear in Hanover (1824) and in Ecuador (1890).
From the viewpoint of the Church all this might seem admirable. But there were "jokers" in it. The cage was spacious -- it was none the less a cage. Solicitous to retain their control and to impose their will from above down, the governments clung to the right to nominate prelates. This was a basic leverage, the most efficient of all kinds of pressure, whether it appear in the texts as "patronage," as "right of legation," or simply as the "Irish veto." This prerogative allowed the governments to put their own creatures in the seats of ecclesiastical power. The one formula which the Church regarded as compatible with her independence and dignity -- previous veto for cause -- became the rule only in Russia. Even in Protestant countries, Prussia for example, the chapters were allowed to recommend only names approved by the secular power, and how vigilant the royal commissioners always were!
But the princes were not content to hold a grip on the hierarchy and therewith on the whole ecclesiastical body. Four of them, the Kings of France, Spain and Portugal and the Emperor of Austria, insisted on the "exclusive" -- the right, that is, to interfere at pleasure in elections of Sovereign Pontiffs. As late as 1831 the Conclave was held in session for forty-eight days because Spain would have none of Cardinal Giustiniani, nor Austria of Capellari.
And there was something even worse. Just after 1815, and again after 1848, the Church was able to regain something of its influence and prestige only by allying herself with the sovereigns against everything that smacked of subversion in the social and economic system. Despite appearances to the contrary, this was a noteworthy change from the old order. In the previous century religious privileges were blended in the mass of other kinds of privilege -- there was nothing to single them out as objects of public criticism and partisan vindictiveness. Now Catholicism too often found itself isolated in the company of some reactionary throne, visible to all, exposed to every attack, and all the more so because, in the collapse of traditional society, Catholics tended to hold apart from all national particularisms in order to concentrate about the Roman Pontiff. Hence the brief and precarious existence of the best concordats -- only those of Bavaria and Spain survived, the latter with some amendments. Pius IX signed his last concordat (with Switzerland) in 1869. That was the end of an epoch. When, a year or more later, Temporal Power itself collapsed, it looked as though the Papacy had been really crushed under the weight of adversity. In the 1870's the diplomatic activity of the Holy See reached its lowest ebb.
IV. THE REVIVAL OF PAPAL POWER
But after a breathing space of fifty years the astonished observer has to record one of the most remarkable revivals known to human history.
All the sagacity of a "diplomat pope," Leo XIII, was required to extricate the Church from its political isolation, and all the energy of a "religious pope" to cement the dogma and strengthen the organization of an institution shattered by its past tribulations. Leo XIII negotiated only three concordats, all unimportant ones; and Pius X one concordat with Serbia -- still-born, as the date, June 1914, indicates. But under this apparent repose energies were accumulating, to burst forth under the pontificate of Pius XI. The event is all the more striking in that during the war the Apostolic See made a grave error in picking winners, so that Benedict XV seemed badly beaten at the time peace was negotiated at Versailles. No one denies that it was the duty of the Papacy to place itself above the conflict of the peoples; and it is equally intelligible that the neutrality of a super-power should prove to be something much more difficult to manage than the neutrality of a nation among nations. But the Papacy had moulded its policy in anticipation of an outcome which failed to materialize. That was the misfortune of Benedict XV, as the diplomatic correspondence of the time shows.
And yet, what a recovery, what a revenge! How different the Catholic Restoration of the years 1919-1929 from the one which took place after 1815! Everywhere people turn to the Apostolic power. Conquerors and conquered alike are eager to ground their anchors in Rome: France, Bavaria, Portugal, Prussia. England herself decides to make her legation at the Vatican permanent. States that have annexed territory ask the Holy Father to help them in the task of absorbing their new Catholic subjects (Rumania, Jugoslavia, Greece). The newly created nations, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Albania, remember that religion is one of the time-honored forces of civic consolidation. But this time it is not kings who call, but peoples themselves, speaking through their duly elected parliaments. In the year 1928, something unheard-of in modern times, three prelates of the Church were functioning as prime ministers of secular states -- Seipel in Austria, Šrámek in Czechoslovakia, Koroshetz in Jugoslavia. Meanwhile Monsignor Kaas leads the German Center, and Monsignor Nolens the Majority in the Dutch Chambers.
All this is the very reverse of what the Church had feared from her bad guess in the war. Far from being among the vanquished, the Church found herself rather a member of that little group of conquerors -- Poland and Rumania were the others -- which were fortunate enough to profit by the ephemeral victory of the Central Empires in destroying Russia and by the permanent victory of the Allies in destroying Austria. The Church followed the destinies of the Hapsburg Empire during the tempest with the gravest concern; but she could never have imagined imperial Austria voluntarily surrendering the right to nominate bishops! Now she must see that the dismemberment of the two empires turns out to her gain. The national movements, after dismantling her policies, turn to her on bended knees: concordats with Latvia in 1922, with Bavaria in 1924, with Poland in 1925, with Lithuania in 1927 -- concordats which can be called "Holy Alliances" only in a democratic sense, and which bring the Church advantages which a Holy Alliance proper would never have yielded. In fact these four concordats severally represent so many steps toward the liberation of the Church as a spiritual power, a liberation without parallel in the course of the preceding centuries.
Hence the great significance for the Church of the stipulations recently signed at the Lateran Palace. There a Great Power at last gave its assent to formulae which hitherto had been accepted only by states of minor influence. These formulae were not by any means improvised for the occasion; they gushed from the body of Church policy like a flood long compressed, after being painfully elaborated by Churchmen and ecclesiastical diplomats in discouraging days when the whole world seemed to be combining to crush the Holy See.
The Italian Concordat should be studied from this point of view and in comparison with the other concordats.
V. RECENT CONCORDATS
The Nomination of Bishops
In the important matter of the election of bishops, the process has been to take away initiative and choice from the secular power and transfer it to the religious power. Eos libere nominat pontifex romanus -- thus the Code of Canon Law compiled in 1904 and promulgated in 1917. And the Vatican Council proclaimed the Pope the universal bishop and established in each diocese as it were a college of consuls, the one residing at Rome and called Caesar, the other residing on the spot and called Bibulus. But Bibulus, henceforth, was to be Caesar's man! The secular power retained only a right of challenge, the privilege of saying or refusing to say: nulla osta, nihil obstat. The procedure was first defined in an agreement made with the Governor General of Malta, in 1890. Year by year thereafter it gained in clarity. The challenge might be exercised only for political or civic reasons (Serbia, 1924), or in some cases only for political reasons (various post-war records with France, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania). Czechoslovakia obtained even less: she may interfere only for reasons "touching the security of the state, the constitution, or public order."
As for Mussolini, he has secured only the clause allowing the state to refuse approval for political reasons. Is the nulla osta which is satisfactory to him a real limitation of the Church's freedom? No. The Church merely must be careful in her appointments, never exposing herself to what might be considered an affront. This is a complete reversal of the situation which formerly existed, notably in Italy, where the King of the Two Sicilies could pose as a virtual legate, and close the frontiers of his kingdom to any Papal envoy.
As for minor appointments, parish curates for instance, only Bavaria retains the nulla osta intact. Poland and Lithuania have it in a very circumscribed form. France, Latvia and Czechoslovakia possess no trace of it whatever. Mussolini is on a middle ground. Objection to an appointment made by a bishop may be filed within thirty days. The Italian Government may also prefer charges against an incumbent, to be tried before a mixed commission (the Polish and Lithuanian procedure). But there is no longer any question of secular "patronage," whether public or private, in Italy.
A sole limitation of Papal autonomy might be seen in the stipulation that ecclesiastical districts shall conform with national boundaries, even, as regards Italy, with provincial or administrative boundaries. But in such matters the Church has always tried to be accommodating, especially since the time of Leo XIII. There is nothing novel about these provisions.
It is noteworthy that after imposing its will on a point so capital, the Vatican has not been called upon to pay the piper in some other way -- for example in connection with protection and liberties granted by the state, or Church properties, or religious orders, or education. But nothing of the kind. The most favorable terms accorded the Church in the documents of the Holy Alliance survive in these recent concordats.
None of the concordats goes so far as the Italian one does when it declares that "the Catholic religion is the only religion of the state." Poland concedes merely what Napoleon conceded: that "the Catholic religion, as a majority religion, occupies a prime position in the State among the confessions legally recognized." On the other hand, after making this sweeping concession Italy steers clear of general principles and fixes details. She does not recognize convent-prisons for priests, as do Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. She keeps to "separate prisons" in so far as "imprisonment" is distinguished from "detention." As to marriage, however, Italy goes back to the Austrian Concordat of 1855, making it an ecclesiastical question. Latvia is her only companion in this regard; Latvia even entrusts the keeping of vital statistics to the curates. Italy follows the 1855 model also in defining the "right of refuge," whereas Poland, Lithuania and Latvia recognize unlimited immunity to churches, chapels and monasteries. The recent concordats all tend to grant special protection to ministers of religion, allowing no recourse in the secular courts to individuals subjected to ecclesiastical discipline. Everywhere exemption from military service is conceded, the terms varying here and there.
Adding such concessions one to the other, a body of collective privilege is clearly detectable.
Corporations and Church Properties
The five concordats grant juridical personality to all religious bodies without distinction -- dioceses, chapters, parishes, convents. They may develop, own, buy and sell like other legal entities, without hindrance from any special legislation and subject only to general corporation law and occasional restrictions on mortmain. Italy specifies simply that new foundations must correspond to actual religious needs of the population. The concordats lay down that for the present and for the future there are to be no special taxes on Church persons and properties. All the débris of the ancient regalia enjoyed by kings is tossed aside. For taxation purposes, religious enterprises are considered as being of concern in connection with state appropriations only in the sense that they are charitable and educational. Latvia, Poland and Lithuania exempt dioceses, seminaries and parsonages -- everything that is not private income -- from tax. Protection is granted (except in Latvia) from seizures, confiscations and requisitions.
In all periods of history clerical endowments have provoked highly disagreeable encroachments from the civil power upon the Church. The Holy See, while declaring itself sovereign administrator of the Church patrimony, yields when the storm is too violent but straightway returns to its steady course, reconstituting its holdings by all possible devices (dummy proprietors and the like). To allow the substitution of state subventions for real properties and endowments is only a temporary makeshift, for such things give the state too strong a grip on the clergy.
These preoccupations on the part of the Papacy appear in the five recent concordats in varying terms. Latvia promises salaries to Church functionaries and supports a cathedral, a bishop's residence, a seminary, and a college in Rome. Poland guarantees a scale of salaries based on the provisions made for state officials; she also will return the properties seized by Germany, Austria and Russia. Bavaria undertakes to support archbishoprics, bishoprics, metropolitan chapters, and cathedrals, meantime paying to the clergy incomes equivalent in modern purchasing power to those of which they were deprived by confiscations after the Peace of Lunéville.
In this regard Italy is much more compliant than anyone else, since she is dealing, not as the other countries are, with an ordinary bishop, but with the Pope no less, whose sovereignty she is recognizing. By the Political Treaty, she returns the Vatican City and a score of adjacent domains covered by divers immunities. In the Concordat she gives back the basilicas of Loreto, Assisi and Padua, resigns claim to the possessions on which Depretis laid hands in 1884, and subsidizes certain churches and chapels. Secularized churches will be restored. Church properties illegally constituted since the confiscation laws of 1866-73 are legalized, all dummies disappearing and titles being transferred free from tax. Mixed commissions will distinguish between such properties as have been devoted to public service (education, charities) and such as are to remain Church properties pure and simple.
In all this we have an example of quasi-restitution to which history assuredly furnishes few parallels. We should remember that as early as 1554, Pope Julius III was quitclaiming confiscated properties to the English Crown either in whole or in part. France is now the only country to which no general quitclaim has been given.
As regards administration there are signs of retroversion. Bavaria writes bluntly: "These properties will be freely administered by the Church;" and Poland and Lithuania follow suit. But the Italian Government asserts its right to audit all operations exceeding simple management. Bishops and minor church officers are therefore called upon to render accountings, even for properties left to them since 1866, and if they prove unfit their holdings may be seized subject to payment of revenue. However, the seven "royal economats" and the provincial "subeconomats," which once supervised ecclesiastical properties, collected the revenues from vacant holdings, and distributed the funds derived from the "budget of public worship," are abolished. Nothing is left but the Department of Public Worship representing the Ministry of Justice in each court of reference, doubless to indicate that its function is rather judiciary than administrative. The three basilicas, the Propaganda, the Diocese of Rome and the Suburban Dioceses are, however, excepted from this rule; no limit whatsoever is put on their autonomy. To receive their share in the "Budget of Public Worship," which is designed to make up for any local insufficiencies, beneficiaries in the districts in question merely need to make declaration of their annual income, without any meddling from the state.
It is in Bavaria that the Church makes the greatest gains in the sphere of education. Nine long articles of the Bavarian compact are devoted to the subject and nothing is left to chance. Religious education in the schools is under the supervision of the bishops. They have a right, moreover, to protest against anything offensive to the Church or to the religious sentiments of the pupils -- and the authorities are required to heed such protests. Priests and monks may train teachers or themselves act as such. In some cases, even, their schools serve as public schools. In the universities of Munich and Würzburg chairs of philosophy and history are reserved for Catholics. Italy does not go so far. Like Poland and Lithuania, she merely prescribes that religious instruction, which is obligatory in the schools, shall be conducted by her ordinary teachers.
VI. THE NEW FORMULA
We are now in a position to grasp in all its amplitude the new formula governing the relations of Church and state which the Roman See is trying to establish. It differs from anything ever attempted in the past.
In the Middle Ages, Church and state were intimately blended and a great deal of effort was required to distinguish, for instance, investiture by the cross from investiture by the sceptre, or to tell where the domain of state ended and that of the Church began.
When the great monarchies came into being, Church and state were still, if not mingled, at least intricately interlocked. Spiritual sovereignty, moreover, was still regarded as the indispensable complement of temporal sovereignty, and the kings, stronger and more systematic than the feudal lords had been, strove to amalgamate the two, some of them going as far as schism, others stopping at Gallicanism or its counterparts.
In modern times, as civil and political equality began to gain the upper hand, the two powers, temporal and spiritual, became separate individualities. And today numbers of the secular states have come to feel that their security and even their sovereignty are not bound up with the wielding of spiritual power. They consider religious forces, left to themselves, as beneficent influences upon peoples rather than as sources of weakness. They are no longer so much afraid of religion. In any event, the permanent "Romanization" of the Church hierarchy precludes any possibility of a return to ancient encroachments. The Church therefore is recovering the protection of the state without paying the price of the subjugations so common of yore. Her field of action, moreover, is enlarged. More and more she is being regarded as an independent body overstepping national boundaries and possessing a law and an inspiration all her own -- an organization with which one may coöperate, but which it would be futile to try to lay hold of now that it no longer functions in isolated parts of the world. Thus the dream of the great Popes of the Middle Ages comes true, strictly limited, to be sure, in its political consequences, and put into action in a systematized way so that orders are transmitted and executed without capricious variations. No one would dream today of disturbing the course of a pontifical election for political purposes. Benedict XV and Pius XI were freely chosen in conclave, not because Pius X's Commissum vobis of 1904 had forbidden the Cardinals to submit to the slightest intervention of the Powers, but because the famous "Exclusive" belonged to a political and ecclesiastical era that had passed away.
Thus it has come about that during a total eclipse of Temporal Power, and while the Pope was enjoying very precarious tenure of his episcopal palaces, his power and his freedom have suddenly become those of a conqueror. In view of the astonishing increase of his spiritual prestige, it is easy to understand why His Holiness did not haggle very bitterly with Mussolini over a few square yards of territory across the Tiber!
The Lateran Concordat, therefore, cannot be regarded as an expression of the Holy See's Italian policy; it is a phase of Papal policy at large, aiming at the fullest possible development of the Church and her laws. It is an application to a particular case of a thought that would willingly find realization throughout the world. To be sure, if the Lateran Treaties stand the test of time, the Roman Church will be more firmly established in Italy than anywhere else. But Gioberti's dream of an Italy transformed into a sort of diarchy, with the Pope standing at the moral helm of the nation, would be vain today. The Papacy has too universal an outlook to rest content with merely local satisfactions, to neglect the whole in favor of a part.
WILL THE NEW CONCORDATS LAST?
But why should these new concordats not wear out as rapidly as those of the Holy Alliance? Do not the Italian and the Lithuanian concordats in particular show more than one point of resemblance to the older pacts?
There can be no question that the big dictator in Italy and the little dictator in Lithuania have been trying to bargain for the support of the Church. But as regards Italy at least, the Pope has been seeking an understanding not with a régime but with a nation. At the most he has given the Duce an opportunity to flatter a certain strong current in Italian public opinion. We are very far from the picture of two powers standing shoulder to shoulder before a common foe, as was the case in Spain in 1851 or in Austria in 1855. Pius XI has pushed his agreement through in spite of Fascism rather than because of Fascism. Indeed, if danger there be, it is that the Church may become too closely involved, not with Fascism, but with the Italian nation. In any event, the new concordats derive their vigor and their chance of survival from a much wider complex of forces, forces not confined in their operation to the particular nations here involved.
The decline of the old liberal doctrines regarding the relationship of spiritual and temporal powers can hardly be doubted. The modern state may be non-religious and in certain respects tyrannical. Nevertheless it becomes more and more evident that great freedom of movement must be allowed to groups and corporations, that certain useful forms of life become impossible if the law envisages only a dust-cloud of separate individuals. That is why a new notion of privilege is developing. Privilege may be thought of as something allowed to one individual and withheld from another, though both render the same public services. Or privilege may be a recognition that to differing social services different rights may be accorded. This latter conception is destined henceforth to find greater and greater favor: for, after all, it is an essential of true equality.
England and the United States have never made concordats; but they long have offered much broader opportunities to the Roman Church than the continental countries, bound in the net of old ideas. This is because they have a sense of local autonomy and of corporate activity and think of religion as a public institution not to be handed over to politics. In principle any religious body whatsoever may organize in the United States when and as it pleases and without asking anybody's permission. To be sure, this good-natured tolerance would vanish if any particular church became overpowerful either through its wealth or through the influence it exerted on its subjects. But I observe that the apprehensions and difficulties experienced by Europe in dealing even with the most powerful spiritual organizations have never proved as serious as expected.
An interesting change has come about in England in the course of a century past. For three hundred years Roman priests had nothing but complaints to make of the omnipotence of the Anglican church, a state institution controlling honors, wealth, and all religious privileges. But religious equality has made its way in England; and the Anglican Church, far from harming other confessions, has proved to be one of their strongest supports by supplying the measure of what is permissible to each of them. Its ancient privileges -- ownership of buildings, palaces, and rich endowments -- are tending to become the common right of all faiths. Today Italian priests are remarking to those who are offended at the powers conferred on the Roman Church in regard to marriage, that, across the Channel, Catholic priests (to say nothing of Anglicans) have long been acting in church and vestry as officers of the civil state.
I mention these latter facts to show that, without our being too dogmatic about the future, the concordats of the new model have solid foundations in the present-day world and that the ecclesiastical liberties which they tend to recognize are likely to endure.